To use the word awkward to describe the past week and a half would be the biggest understatement of the century. When I was at my most awkward faze, avoiding people and anything with a pulse at all times, even that was less awkward than it is now.
After Sirius and I had our almost kiss, or whatever the bloody hell it was, we had been avoiding each other like people avoid dragon pox. If we are ever put into the same room one of us will come up with an excuse to leave the room. My latest excuse being, “I put my shoes on backwards, I have to go back to my dorm room and fix them.”
Even James noticed something was wrong, and usually that boy is about as dim as a beater bat. When he asked me what was going on I told him that I was allergic to Sirius's scent and until I found the cure I had to avoid him. James, being the utterly daft and clueless person he is, believed it. Well, I can't give all the credit to him being daft. The match against Slytherin was this Saturday and even though they'd lost two of their key players that didn't make James any less nervous or intense. Remus told me that the past week James had been muttering 'quaffle,' in his sleep.
The boy was obsessed.
Luckily I had Care of Magical Creatures for my first class which involved none of the Marauders. I made my way down towards the outskirts of the forest where classes were held. The class size had thinned out over the years as the people of Hogwarts decided what classes and career they wanted, leaving only five people aside from myself in Care of Magical Creatures year seven.
The class consisted mainly of Hufflepuff girls who liked to look at cute animals, despite the fact that we rarely had cute animals as an example for the class. I swear, if they could have any job it would be to sit and cuddle with furry animals all day. Hufflepuff really lacks ambition sometimes.
My favorite part of Care of Magical Creatures was that Professor Kettleburn charmed a tree so that its branches would lay low and position themselves so they laid like bleachers. Because the class was so small it was easy for us to all sit on top of the branches and use those as our seats for class.
Professor Kettleburn stood at the front of the class and cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. “Welcome class, thank you for braving this chilly weather today. Today we will be looking at a very rare creature. Its name is Venislew and it is a very important creature. A Venislew is very much like a phoenix in two ways. The first feature is it can be reborn.
“The second feature is that when a Venislew dies it becomes a puddle and the puddle of water is equivalent to a phoenix's tears. Now,” Kettleborn said in a quieter voice as he backed up near a covered cage. “You need to be very quiet and your movements slow because Venislews are easily spooked. We cannot cause it any damage as it is a dying race.”
We all nodded our heads to signal we understood as we sat forward on our tree branch while Professor Kettleburn slowly took off the cage covering. Once it was released I found myself gasping at the beauty of the creature. It couldn't be more than a foot tall, slightly resembling a bird in it's form and feathers, which were a lovely deep shade of blue. The Venislew had big green eyes and a small beak. It's feathers were tucked next to its sides. I noticed that his feet resembled flippers rather than claws and on the sides of it's neck it had gills.
“Professor, is the Venislew a sea creature?” I asked upon examination of the creature.
“Why yes Ms Muze, good observation. Five points to Gryffindor.” I beamed at Kettleburn's prize. I hardly ever got points for our house as I was the quiet one in the class and rarely spoke up. “This brings me to the next point of the animal. Venislews can fly but prefer to stay in the water. Usually they are located in large bodies of water, such as oceans. Rarely are they found in rivers or lakes. Venislews are very useful creatures.
Their water is a main ingredient in many healing potions and their most useful feature is that they can willingly kill themselves to save another. Unfortunately the animal is a dying breed as many capture them for personal gain, not allowing them to repopulate. Your assignment for the next few weeks is to figure out an idea to repopulate this species. Whoever has the best idea will be able to propose it to the VRS, the Venislew Restoration Society. If you are chosen you will also be exempt from your N.E.W.T exam and get an automatic O. You have until we get back from Christmas break to turn in this assignment. That is all for the day, you may leave early.” Kettleburn dismissed us.
I didn't pack my things like the rest of the group, I could only stare at the creature. It was so beautiful, it almost didn't seem real. I was afraid that if I looked away I would never see it again.
“Can I help you Ms Muze?” Kettleburn asked once he'd noticed everyone had left and I was still there.
“I was just wondering what other ideas have been proposed in the restoration of venislew's.”
“Ah yes, there is an article in the library about the VRS and their contributions. I'm sure that will be an excellent source for you. You've taken interest in this creature, have you?”
“It's so beautiful, I'd hate to see it die out.”
“Well then, let's hope you come up with an brilliant idea. Let me know if you need anymore help on the subject, I'd be more than glad to point you towards more information.”
I smiled at Kettleburn before taking one last look at the beautiful creature. I picked up my backpack and swung it over my shoulder, saying goodbye to Kettleburn before heading back towards Hogwarts.
On my way back to the castle I came to the decision that I would find a way to help the Venislews and dedicate all my energy towards helping them. Not only would I be saving a dying species but it would also give me an excellent excuse to avoid Sirius.
The morning of the Quidditch match was it's usual awkward high tension filled atmosphere. James kept playing with his pancakes and referred to them as his, 'little quaffle friends.' Remus eventually feared too much for his friend's sanity and took away the plate of pancakes.
After breakfast James and Sirius left to prepare for the Quidditch match while Remus, Peter and I stayed in the Great Hall, relaxing and drinking hot chocolate until the match began. As I looked over Remus I noticed he was starting to look tired and sick again. He was starting to pale and the bags under his eyes were appearing. I'd have to make a note of this again and see if I can connect more dots to the mystery that is Remus Lupin.
“I suppose you're going to Slughorn's Christmas party,” Peter chimed in.
“Oh, yeah I guess,” I shrugged before taking a sip from my hot chocolate. “I was invited by Slughorn but I suppose James would've asked me anyway.”
“Oh, right,” Peter muttered as he cast his eyes downward.
“Who are you going with?”
“I don't know yet. I had someone in mind but I don't think it will work out. I'll find someone else.”
“Aw Pete don't get down. If you want to ask the girl just ask, the worse she can say is no.” I gave him a reassuring smile and patted him on the hand. Peter's hand flinched slightly under my touch and he wore a pained expression on his face. I tried to analyze his change in mood but couldn't figure out what had caused this sudden shift.
“Well, the game should be starting soon we should head over.” Remus said as he examined his watch.
I drained the remainder of my hot chocolate and followed Remus and Peter out of the Great Hall and to the Quidditch pitch. The buzz of a Quidditch match hitting me as we neared the pitch.
When we arrived at the pitch people were already crammed in the bleachers. Many thought that something bad was going to happen to James and Sirius in this game because they were part of the reason why Lucius and Regulus were expelled from the game. I looked around the stadium and tried to find Lucius and Regulus to make sure they didn't look like they were up to anything but I couldn't seem to find them. I figured they probably hadn't arrived yet.
The players soon came onto the field, all with stoney expressions on their faces. Soon we overheard on the sound system, “and the replacements for Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black are Trevor Forbes and Gerrat Parisher.” The two new players rose into the air and waved once their name was announced. The whistle sounded and the game began. Gryffindor was quickly in possession but once they had neared the goals their shot was blocked.
For the first twenty minutes possession was traded between the two teams with no goals made. Unfortunately the first person to make a goal was Slytherin after twenty three minutes. Despite their victory I could see the Slytherin team growing edgy and intense. They seemed even more determined to win and end this game. I could hear from the bleachers them yelling at their seeker to find the snitch already and end the game. I found this exchange odd and didn’t know why they seemed so keen on ending the game before they had scored many goals.
Another ten minutes passed with nothing having happened but then Gryffindor was back in possession and after a great fake from James we caught up and scored, tying the game. The game continued and the Slytherin's seeker was looking frantically for the snitch. It seemed I wasn't the only one noticing something odd as everyone around me was looking at the game with a confused gaze. Suddenly the two new players Forbes and Parshier flew to the ground and dismounted their brooms, running into the locker room as fast as they could. Everyone started whispering amongst themselves and Madame Hooch quickly followed them into the locker room.
For a few minutes nothing happened. The Gryffindor quidditch players stopped playing and sat suspended in the air as they gazed around trying to figure out what was going on. Slytherin looked extremely nervous as they huddled together, whispering amongst themselves. After only a few minutes Madame Hooch dragged out two boys from the locker rooms. The quidditch pitch fell silent as Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black were dragged out with their brooms and quidditch robes on. Madame Hooch blew her whistle and held her wand to her throat so that her voice began booming.
“Slytherin will forfeit from this game. Mr. Black and Mr Malfoy used a polyjuice potion to play in today's game. By default, Gryffindor wins.”
The declaration wasn't met by a victorious roar. Instead people whispered amongst each other, hardly able to believe what had just happened. I looked over and saw James landing on the ground throwing off his gloves on the pitch and storming inside the locker room.
This wasn't going to end well.
The common room was silent that night. There was no victory party thrown for Gryffindor's win, no cheers of joy. It felt like we'd lost. The common room was filled with people but few talked, and if people talked it wasn't about the game.
James had remained in the locker rooms. Me, Remus, Sirius and Peter sat quietly in the common room. Remus and Peter were playing a game of chess while Sirius and I sat opposite of each other and quietly watched the game.
I tried not to look up at Sirius. I could feel him staring at me and I tried to hide the fact that a blush wouldn't leave my cheeks. I didn't know why I couldn't talk to him. I think it was because I din't know how I feel about the situation. Sirius was going to kiss me, I was one hundred percent sure on that. But what was bothering me is I couldn't figure out why. Why Sirius would kiss me?
I obviously don’t deny the fact that I'm awkward and slightly immature and without meaning to be, I'm a complete handful. I'm unintentionally high maintenance. On top of that I'm not his type. He goes for the beautiful, smart and funny girls. The trifecta of women. Basically the female version of him.
Then there's me. Up until a few months ago I was virtually unknown. Now I'm James Potter's girlfriend. I don't even get my own identity. I'm just that girl dating James. I'm not interesting enough to get my own title. I don't do anything of interest, don't say anything funny or deep. The only thing I contribute is a scapegoat.
“Can we talk?” I jumped in my seat as I turned around and saw Sirius standing above me. I'd been so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn't noticed him come by me.
“Um, sure,” I managed to squeak out as I got up and followed him up the boys staircase and to his dormitory.
I remained by the door as Sirius went over and leaned against a dresser by his bed. He put his right foot over his left and crossed his arms over his chest. His head was titled down as he looked up at me through his bangs. I stood awkwardly by the open door, not really sure where to put myself.
“Things have been a little...tense between us,” Sirius said slowly, carefully choosing his words.
I just stared at him. I didn't really know what to say, if I should say anything. I shuffled awkwardly on my feet and crossed my hands in front of me as I stared down at them and twirled my thumbs, using them as some sort of distraction.
“I'm sorry about what happened, I didn't mean to offend you or anything.”
I looked at Sirius quizzically. I didn’t' fully understand why he was apologizing. Was he embarrassed by the fact that he had tried to kiss me? Many thoughts were flowing through my head but all I could manage to ask was, “why?”
I thought for a moment as I tried to explain how I felt about the situation. “I mean, why me? Was it out of pity or something? Boredom?”
Sirius looked shocked, “is that what you think I think of you?”
I shrugged, “I mean, I wouldn't blame you. I know how I am. Awkward Avery Muze. I'm a complete handful and loser.”
“Avery,” Sirius said quietly as he shook his head. “I don't get how you don't see it.”
“See that you're far from being a loser. Avery, you're amazing.”
“I'm what?” I spluttered. I must've heard him wrong. There was no way that Sirius Black had just said I was amazing.
Sirius smiled and straightened himself. He slowly started walking towards me and I found myself paralyzed. He held my eyes as he neared me, his walk filled with a confidence I could only dream to have. He stopped only an inch or two away from me. I craned my neck to look up at him, my heart hammering in my chest. I tried to remind myself to breathe but the motions of the task seemed to have slipped my mind.
“I said, you're amazing.” His hot breath danced on my face. He moved his hand to cup my cheek and without knowing I was leaning into his palm, relishing the feel of his warm hand against my skin. A sigh almost escaped my lips from the wonderful thrill. The touch was frightening and unfamiliar, yet it was completely wonderful and I just wanted to feel more of him.
I looked up at Sirius and there was an intensity in his eyes I had never seen before. His hand tensed against my cheek as he slowly leaned down. I stayed paralyzed as his face neared mine, the gap closing with each passing second. Finally I felt his lips meet mine in a gentle kiss. My heart was beating so fast I didn't think it would ever stop. It felt like every part of my body had awakened and I'd found a new way to breathe.
When he pulled away I gasped for air as if not used to my old form of breathing. He kept his hand on my cheek as he looked at me with a smile. I tried hard to smile back but fear and doubt immediately started creeping in. I stepped away from Sirius and shook my head, “um, I left the bathtub running, I have to go.”
And with that I turned and ran down the stairs.
A/N: Alright so this chapter went in a totally different direction then I planned on it going but here it is! I had SUCH a difficult time writing the ending. It's hard writing a first kiss between two people! I mean, sure, I've had that but it's hard to describe it. So I hope you guys think I did it justice :/ If not I'll go back and re-write it. But don't think this story is going to end. Oh no, it's far from over.
And I realize that in the fan fiction world I've had them kiss pretty early on but I was thinking about real life and -for me- when I've liked someone it doesn't take a year or two for those feelings to come out, you don't love them before you ask them out, so I figured I'd make this more realistic :) But believe me, it's not going to be this easy :P And of course thanks to everyone who has reviewed! You guys are amazing and I wouldn't have written this much if it weren't for you guys :)